The Woolen Shop by Thomas Keith Roberts. *Image supplied
The Woolen Shop by Thomas Keith Roberts. *Image supplied

The City of Hamilton has gone through so many dramatic changes in the past thirty or so years that it sometimes takes a painting such as this one by Canadian Tom Roberts to remind us of what it looked like just a short while ago.

Even in 1982 the pace seemed more leisurely as evidenced in this work of what now is the popular Lemon Tree Restaurant. Imagine being able to sit outside Brown and Co. with easel and palette and paint Queen Street without any streaming traffic!

Note the gated entrance to Par-la-Ville Park by the Perot Post Office and the large shade tree, which seems to arch out over the road. Roberts was a well-known Canadian impressionist artist who studied under Yvonne Hausser and was the grandson of Samuel Roberts who founded the Roberts Gallery in Toronto in 1842.According to his daughter, Jane Roberts Ridley, the figures in the painting are her father, Tom Roberts, her mother Mary and herself. The painting was done on one of the artist’s trips to Bermuda, which was the only place outside of Canada (with the exception of Vermont) that Roberts ever painted.

• Elise Outerbridge is curator at Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art.

bermudamasterworks.com